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The Most Beautiful Restaurant in the World – Kyoto Kitcho

December 20, 2017

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Hello everyone! Thank you for watching this video. It’s taken us many, many months to edit. Many more than we had expected, but we’re happy to finally be able to share this with you. Allow us to share with you what we think is the most beautiful restaurant in the world, Kyoto Kitcho.

That’s a bold statement to make. We haven’t been to all the restaurants in the world, so how can we know? Well, I’m basing this off of a few signals. Maybe you’ll disagree with me. The first of them is that it’s definitely the most beautiful restaurant we’ve ever been to. And we’ve been to many nice restaurants and have had eaten at a bunch of Michelin starred places. This is the most gorgeous, most luxurious place we’ve ever been to, by far. By far far. Most of the high end restaurants we’ve been to have really nice interiors, but their exteriors are kinda underwhelming. The house here, the garden, the running water, even the fact that it’s in Arashiyama in Kyoto, right by the water, is just something else. There’s a feeling when you walk in here. It’s intimidating. It’s so stunning that it scares you stiff, and I can’t help but think “don’t fuck this up! I don’t know how you’ll fuck it up but don’t!” The air here makes you feel like you’re in the presence of royalty, and the whole time I feel like I snuck into a castle and I’m about the grabbed by the scruff of my neck and escorted out.

We also have friends who are more well-dined than we are, friends who have traveled to many other fancy places around the world, and they said that Kitcho is definitely up there for the most beautiful. It’s subjective, though, of course, and for some this very Japanese aesthetic doesn’t do it for them. But if you’re in the mood for high end Japanese it really doesn’t get any more luxurious than this. Eating at Kitcho is for many a bucket list.

We contemplated another title for this, though, one that more people agree with. If you Google “The Most Expensive Restaurant in the World,” Kyoto Kitcho shows up as #1 right away. So, let me confirm this: holy fuck it’s expensive! It’s the most expensive meal we’ve ever had. I wish we paid for this what we paid for our Super Expensive Melons. Hell, I wish I paid double that. Triple that! The cost of eating the meal we had at Kitcho was 54,000 yen, PER PERSON. And that didn’t include drinks. No, this video wasn’t sponsored. No, this wasn’t a free meal. I hope to GAWD people watch this video with their adblockers turned off. Sweet mercy, we really saved to eat here.

But, and this is a big but, I also don’t think I’ve seen anyone shoot a video like this at Kitcho before. I think we might be the only ones to have had this kind of access, so for us, as creators, I think it’s worth it. This is a video we’re proud of. It was really tough to shoot and edit, but I like the way it looks in the end, and I think I can walk away with a sense of having accomplished something small with this. At least, that’s what I’ll keep telling myself.

We didn’t go into making this video, though, thinking about it being the most expensive restaurant in the world. We didn’t want to focus on that. We really wanted to focus on the beauty of this place, the atmosphere, the service, the food. If you go into the video just thinking about the price, you kinda look at it with your guard up thinking “ain’t no way that’s worth it!” and that filters your appreciation of the place. For most people, eating here won’t be worth the price of admission. For us, Kyoto Kitcho was a profound experience that we’ll never forget, and we got to make a video out of it that we’re really happy with. If you personally don’t get the chance to go to Kyoto Kitcho, I hope that we were able to convey to you a small sense of what it feels like.

The cost of the meal isn’t only based on the service and the building. Kaiseki food is usually expensive. On Wikipedia you’ll see a whole section dedicated to the price of a Kaiseki meal, and it usually ranges from 15,000 yen to 40,000 yen per person. Kitcho is on the higher of high end. We’ve eaten Kaiseki at other places in Kyoto as well, and they also have been steep. The price often depends on the seasonality of the ingredients and how difficult it is to obtain them. All those super expensive fruit videos we’ve done? They’ll be using those kinds of ingredients. We once ate at a place that had caught the only Nodoguro fish of the day. Like, the only one that day. In all of Japan. We were really scared cooking with the Wagyu for our beef skewer video, but Kaiseki chefs cook with ingredients of that caliber all the time. So, hopefully that helps you understand the cost of a meal like this. It’s not just the service, but it’s also the rarity of the ingredients that play a major factor.

On another note, we lost a lot of weight since we ate here, if you can’t tell by now. I hope you can tell. We were at our heaviest here, back in the Spring 2017. Oh gosh. Looking at the footage now is tough for us. Whooooa we let ourselves go.

We’ve got a bunch of pictures from Kitcho, if you feel like looking at more pretty food. Check em out below!

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The Most Beautiful Restaurant in the World – Kyoto Kitcho

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  1. I just watched the video and I am teary right now. I am sad right now.
    You manage to show us people who treat food and people like the most presious thing in the world and it makes me happy seeing you enjoy it. This is what I am living for.
    Why I’m sad? Because all the time I worked as a Konditorin (=confectioner?? baking sweet stuff…) most people I met only cared if it’s affortable. Nobody cared if the ingridients were great, nobody took the time to sit down and relax and enjoy eating. It was all about how much calories it has or how much it costs. Nobody appreciated how much work it was and how much love I have put in to it. And belive me, here in Germany most of the places I worked I only got minimum wage and most of the time I worked overtime for free (150 hours at my last workplace) and in the middle of the night – so forget about spending time with friends and family.
    It took some years till I ended up down in this pit called depression. And we know how hard it is to get out of there. I myself stopped my job at all and barely bake anything, because I am still anxious that people won’t know what it took to make my sweets.
    Seeing you being greatful and meeting people who live the dream makes me so happy for you and at the same time it makes me sad for myself. But I hope that because of you people will be more aware of the work and thoughts that are put into making food and that the world will be a better place.

    Thank you for working hard. I love you guys.
    #buildaladder

    3 months ago
    • Leonan, I feel for you. I have been a cook for the last 8 years or so. I’m in America (California) and while there are definitely some places that do really good food really well, and people go there to eat to enjoy the food, the people creating the food are seldom rewarded. If you work in one of the small places, the cooks ear minimum wage and work 100 hours a week. They do usually make overtime, unless they are asked to clock out or something (I have never worked at one of these places because I know they don’t take care of cooks). It’s frustrating. Some of the guests really might understand how good your food is and how awesome your ingredients are, but you as the creator see nothing of it. I have moved on to being a server, I only cook for my friends and family now. It is too much work for too little appreciation and compensation for me. I’m sorry that you have stopped your job for now, but maybe you can make sweets for yourself and for the people who will truly appreciate you? :)

      3 months ago
  2. Thank you,
    that movie (it truly didn’t feel like a video) made me silent. It felt so meditative. I’m a person who’s brain is always going at 200%, doing ten things at the same time while also playing more tunes than a jukebox. Yet this atmosphere you create here made my brain shut up and pay attention.
    By far the best thing I’ve seen in a long time.
    A most heartfelt thank you.

    Small question, how do you eat comfortably when an okami is watching over you like that? I’d be terrified ^^’

    4 months ago
    • Ha! It’s actually not too bad. She’s very perceptive. It’s not like she’s staring at your soul as you eat. She’d come in, bring something, serve it, and talk for a bit, then move out at just the right time. She’s got a lot of tact and sense, I think :D

      4 months ago
  3. Now I’m happy that I remembered to turn off my AdBlock before watching this video :D BTW Chi Chi London dress <3 If I ever get married I think I will be wearing one of their dresses.

    4 months ago
  4. Simon and Martina … thank you so much for sharing that incredible experience. The location and everything about the meal was so beautiful and the way that the staff presented themselves was so profound and peaceful that words escape me.

    There is no possible way that I can truly describe how impressed I am with the job you did editing this video. I cannot say I have seen ANYTHING done by ANYONE on YouTube (or about anywhere even “professioal”) that surpassed the quality and total love that you put into this work of art. I wish I knew someone on on of the major media sites and could convince them to feature your effort here to the public where it would be noticed in the manner in which it deserves. It was simply glorious.

    Thank you so very much, from your friend and long time fan – Wayne Palmer.

    4 months ago
  5. Thanks so much for making this video. Watching it was really relaxing and comforting (it’s quelled a bit of my ‘homesickness’ – I recently moved back overseas after living in Japan for 3 years). It’s really beautifully filmed (how did you manage all the shots? Did you have other staff with you or did you have to place all the cameras, hit record, walk in front of them, then run back to fetch them?!), and (this might sound a bit odd) I like the look of the subtitles too (easy to read but not distracting, and shows as much of the shot as possible). What I really enjoyed was the interview with the chef. The way he talks about cooking really helps one appreciate how much of an art AND science it is. He also seems like a really nice guy. I hope to be able to visit that restaurant at some point, in the distant future… But for now, I’m off to watch the video again, this time with my adblocker turned off! Thanks again.

    4 months ago
  6. I have mixed feelings for this video. On the one hand, it was gorgeously shot, the music set a serene and elegant tone, the scene changes and closeups were interesting and nicely transitioned. I feel as if I’ve had and elegant, restful experience just watching it. But I also feel a bit like there were two very different people editing it, food vs. interview. The shots of the food had a different text/font, different lighting, and somewhat different feel from the interview shots. In those I am missing the words “taste”, “tasty”, “delicious”, “yummy” or any description of the food other than “beautiful”, “kaiseki”, “great ingredients”, “care in preparation”. I’m not seeing any smiling either, just lots of bowing and thanking. There is a bit of a feeling of intimidation (as Simon says in the blog) that even if one doesn’t enjoy the food, it must due to a flaw in the taster, not to be mentioned, and that one should be thankful merely for being allowed to attend the restaurant at such a price. This makes me feel somewhat uneasy. The interview shots and scenery, on the other hand, were nicely put together and I feel like I am being confided in by my father figure, the chef. However, in half the shots, I wasn’t sure whether I was getting an intimate chat with the chef and head lady or being too in their face because the tops of their heads were mostly chopped off. Also, just my personal preference, the subtitles were overpowering (1/4 of the screen), often just a chopped off face and the subs can be seen, and that semi-opaque bar was very distracting on the nature shots. I can see the technical reasons behind the bar, but half that font size would have been fine even for old people to read — with word outlining, the bar could have been more transparent as well…….So, while I liked the video, it felt cold, compared to your regular stuff and less informative/tasty/happy than the Saito video. I did love seeing that the serving ladies had small towels rolled in the backs of their obis – always prepared! I know that you spent a lot of time on this video, but maybe you overthought it a tad? Martina, you looked lovely in your sweet dress and Simon in his shirt and pants (leg stretch under the short table – woo!) and while I think it’s great that you’re trying to keep what you feel is a healthy weight, I think that it’s 10 years too late for you guise to start feeling self-concious on camera – LOL! As long as you’re wearing clothes that fit, you will always look so kawaii so don’t worry! {big hugs!}

    4 months ago
    • I’m on the opposite side when it comes to the video, both with the filming/editing techniques and with the descriptions/atmosphere. I feel like this was a very mature, informational, and inspiring video in theme, location, and technique. It’s because it’s not their regular style of filming and I enjoy very much the serene way of speaking, the slow motion with detail on food and service. As you mention, there’s no “yummy, tasty, delicious” used here and I think that is because the more you learn about food and cooking, the more you realize those are too vague, sometimes too broad, and diminishing terms to use. Working in the restaurant industry I learned that, and I was also told that those terms are not fitting especially if it’s an elevated experience. The same way you can’t just describe a dish as “delicious savory meal”, or a dessert as “a yummy sweet treat”. It’s just too…not specific and beginner-ish. There are no smiles and there’s a feeling of intimidation because it’s also a learning moment. It’s a 3 Michelin stars restaurant after all. It’s not something one should take lightly, but absorb all the information you are given, and make note of every new taste and sensation. I have only been once to a 1 Michelin star restaurant and I was already soooooo impressed, and soo surprised at the differences between the Michelin and regular restaurants. And as I said, I work in a restaurant so I know what should be happening as I am eating even at the server station, and on the line. And I’d feel intimidated there too, after all it’s such an old establishment, they have a tradition, they have standards, and rules they’ve been following for so long, and being able to be there and experience it all it’s like a privilege. But after all, I’d feel more rich and knowledgeable to have gotten a peek at how they do things. And the price, almost $500 I think it’s if not just appropriate then it’s too low because of the carefully selected ingredients, uniqueness, the time it takes to prepare them, the time it takes to come up with the perfect pairings, the effort put in even choosing what bowl or plate to be served from, maybe they plate it at the table, maybe they have to teach you what to eat first or how to eat it, the manager who stays with you to guide you through the session, plus what goes into the routine expenses like employees’ pay, the cost of up-keeping the place and garden, the electricity, the marketing, it’s just soo much they have to take care of. (at this point I realize I’m too long, but sorry, it’s a topic too close to my heart). Let me compare some prices though: it’s winter time aka truffle season for restaurants. If anyone wants a supplement of white truffle shaving on their omelet, pizza, pasta, whatever, it’s close to $100, and that’s for only maybe 4 grams aka not even half an oz! There are individuals (I witnessed this) who at lunch time in NYC would sit at the bar of the restaurant by themselves and spend $600-$700 on their lunch and drinks. It’s possible, and even for lower quality than at Kyoto Kitcho, and there’s willing clientele too! Some do it for the show off yes, but some simply love the experience and love food, and love to see all the pieces in the machinery working in harmony to deliver uniqueness.
      Thanks if you took time to read this. And happy holidays!

      4 months ago
      • You misunderstood me…. I was merely pointing out that somewhere in the descriptions of the scenery, luxury, and service, they accidentally forgot to mention if they enjoyed their experience and the food. You might have noticed that Simon and Martina didn’t say a single word throughout the video, nor did they smile, and there was no mention in the blog. To me, this video is explaining the experience from the Kyoto Kitcho perspective, setting up expectations….kind of an advertisement really, rather than informing me of the results of Simon and Martina’s experience. I would trust their opinion, if they had given it, this is why I bothered to note it. It is still possible to create a unique lackluster meal, even with the best of the best ingredients and master culinary skills.

        4 months ago
  7. This video put me in the most serene mood. I had tears in my eyes throughout most of it. I think watching Japanese chefs is a part of what made me decide I shouldn’t be a cook anymore. I don’t think I care enough, does that make sense? Maybe it would be different if I had my own place, but that isn’t the case. Regardless of that, this was a beautifully shot video and I enjoyed it immensely. I hope that you guys enjoyed the food and thank you so much for sharing your experience with the rest of us.

    3 months ago
  8. I really loved this video. Excellent, excellent job, you guys. It was very beautiful, like your previous high-end dining videos, but there was something really special about this one. You let the food, the beautiful surroundings, and the creators of this restaurant speak for themselves. You beautifully showcased what’s so special about dining at a place like this. At the same time, the video wasn’t preening or pretentious at all – just respectful of how much work goes into creating something like this, and how seriously the chef and okami-san take the enjoyment of their customers into consideration.

    Great job, guys! I’m reeeeeeeally hoping that you’ll do a video about Tenzushi at some point (hint hint :D)

    4 months ago
  9. fie

    Wow that made me happy. You guys really do the absolute best

    4 months ago